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Will protestors get doused in Hong Kong torch relay?

Posted by: Frederik Balfour on April 30, 2008

I have to admit I’m a lot more stoked about the Hong Kong leg of the Olympic Torch Relay on May 2 more than I’d originally thought I would be. Thanks to the torch’s turbulent journey during the past few weeks, chances are Hong Kong will see some of its most defiant protests since the World Trade Organization held a round of talks here back in December 2005 and we reporters will have something meaty to write about.

I always look forward to that adrenalin rush when protesters and police hold a stand-off in the streets and I’m pretty sure I won’t be disappointed on Friday when the 30 kilometer race takes place. Some 3000 police will be deployed along the route, and despite the best attempts by Hong Kong authorities to keep undesirables out of the territory—at several well known human rights activists have been denied entry in recent days according to press reports.

But I reckon the folks at immigration know better than to turn away Mia Farrow, leader of the activist group, Dream for Darfur. Although Hong Kong is painfully aware it must not displease its masters in Beijing, I have no doubt the administration here got cleared the question of Farrow’s visit with them well in advance. Turning her away at the border would be a PR disaster for Hong Kong and China. Farrow will be speaking at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club luncheon on Friday, and as someone lucky enough to score a seat for her talk, May 2 is looking to be a real banner day.

Dream for Darfur has been highly critical of Olympic sponsors for their failure to pressure Beijing to revise its policy of supporting the Sudanese government. Coca Cola, one of the world wide sponsors, is also a sponsor of the torch relay in greater China. When I was working on a story about ambush marketing several weeks back, Coke was keen on having me join the festivities in Sanya, Hainan Island, where the torch will first hit the mainland. But the idea seems to have lost its appeal for the folks at Coke, who haven’t followed up on the suggestion.

Reader Comments


April 30, 2008 4:16 PM

Go ahead, douse protestors in Hong Kong...and the worlds outrage will multiply exponentially! Can't wait to see THOSE images played over and over...and over....on CNN and other global cable news stations! GO AHEAD, MAKE MY DAY!


May 1, 2008 6:20 AM

Good luck!I think most chinese support the game.if you really want to see a perfect protest,I advise you send all people over the world to HONGKONG,so you can get more people than 1.3 billion chinese,and more protesters than supporters!do you have the ability to >>>...??????

tom nguyen

May 1, 2008 3:16 PM

I hope it happen because then The world will continue to ship the problem of the Iraq


May 1, 2008 5:40 PM

Obviously, Jack thinks he is Dirty Harry. Or should that be Dirty Jack? Sums up the attitude of most protesters around the world who believe they are more important than their cause, whatever that may be. I think the only reason they protest is because it makes them feel more important than they really are. They should get a life instead. Sad, really.

one to one

May 2, 2008 2:25 AM

we want comment your news freely

after reading your news, i want to

comment them freely,but it is

disappointed that i can't find a

place to comment in your website.

in chinese news websites, it's a

often habit that websites provide a

direct place to comment for

readers.they don't need you to

register and leave your email

address.the only thing you need do

is just to click "comment",then you

can comment, i think,can

you do so just like chinese news

websites.i need free speech in your

western medias.
thanks a lot!


May 2, 2008 5:11 AM

well, Mr. Balfour, apparently your vision of Hong Kong will see some of its most defiant protests since the World Trade Organization is wrong, so is your outdated knowledge about China. I suggest you to turn off your computer in your luxurious apartment and start hanging out with people in Hong Kong to update your knowledge.


May 2, 2008 3:51 PM

I wonder why Mia Farrow, the jewish american that can also cry crocodile's tears like Steven Spielberg doesn't have a dream for Palestine and Iraq. She keeps one eye open and the other closed regarding human rights violation. Which country has been wantonly started numerous wars since WWII that have resulted in millions of death and injuries? In fact, the biggest human rights violation is that the American and Isreali soldiers were made to carry out uneccesarry crimes against humanity.


May 2, 2008 4:01 PM

By now, you should see the news that more than 50,000 spectators in Hong Kong had been cheering the torch on. Little protests at all. Should you be surprised? Do you think the Tibet issue would turn into those 1960-style riots in Hong Kong. Hong Kong today is a FAR FAR less politicized place than it was in 1960s (when cultural revolution was in full swing). The foreigners are still dreaming on, thinking that Hong Kong will hold the beacon of light to freedom in China. Hong Kong has shown China the way to modern business, and provides the know-how on its financial services expertise. The people in Hong Kong, much as those in Singapore, enjoy a stable, quiet environment to thrive. That's how Chinese have always been like. That's why a centralized control (be it Communist Party or ancient emperors) can control 1.1 billion of people. Face the fact, dudes.


May 3, 2008 6:51 PM

Frederick Balfour obviously has no clue about what is happening in China or even in Hong Kong. No mass protests, no riots, no nothing. Instead we had a small kerfuffle with a few Tibet protesters who were vastly outnumbered by the pro-China crowd, and Mia Farrow (another Hollywood Hypocrite) postured a little to the Foreign Correspondents Club and then postured a little more in front of a government building. That was it.

Anyone who relies on Businessweek for their information about China is bound to be seriously misled.


May 3, 2008 10:34 PM

I am a chinese gilr, I am really happy at the comments writen by Western people. I found more and more western people know modean China,we really like our nation ,our country because it is harmonious,peaceful,perspect, we don't allow any one to split or destroy our country, we really welcome you,western people, to Beijing for Olympic game, and along with knowing China more, more and more foreigners choose to live and work in China. they are getten enough respect by our kind people, I believe China will impress you once you come here!
BeiJing welcome to your coming!

Worked in GuangZhou

Free Tibet

May 4, 2008 1:29 PM

While some supporters in the west see him as a messiah, and his enemies in Beijing call him “a jackal in monk’s robes”, the Dalai Lama sees himself always as human.The story of the young leader’s flight across the world’s highest mountain ranges captivated the world, but after his arrival in India (soon followed by 80,000 other Tibetans), he was, to some degree, forgotten. Turning that neglect to advantage, he set about recreating the best of old Tibet outside its borders and adapting its traditions to the modern world. In his first year in exile he drew up a new constitution for Tibet, bringing his people democracy for the first time in their history and even including a clause allowing for his own impeachment. He set up monasteries, schools and cultural centres, while getting rid of much in Tibetan custom that struck him as outdated. Monks in exile now learn modern science as well as ancient philosophy; women are allowed to study for doctoral degrees, which they could never do in old Tibet; and children take their lessons in the Tibetan language until the age of 10 or so and then switch to English.



May 4, 2008 1:31 PM

China has a history of attacking its neighbors. Chairman Mao had dreamed to be a world conqueror.

He even wanted to give 10 million Chinese women to America.

I could have used them.

White Guy

May 4, 2008 2:35 PM

If no one cares much about Mia in the West. Who would give a DAMN about Mia in the East. She is a loser. Face it, no on really cares about Tibet after the Olympics. We might as well try to create more instability somewhere else in the world. It looks like Serbia might be creating some problems for us Westerners (Milosevic loyalists could return to power in Serbia ). Let's do some bashing over there instead.


May 5, 2008 1:38 AM

The Olympic torch went very well in HK.
I wonder if this guy who wrote this article is a reporter or a science fiction writer?

I guess, if you are good at science and math then become scientist or engineer or doctor or if you are good at law then become a lawyer.

However, if you have not talent other than spin news, then you can work for BusinessWeek writing pointless article or article based on bias and prejudice like this article!

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